Former president of Ghana gives DSU commencement

Former president of Ghana gives DSU commencement – The rain drizzled down on the Delaware State University football stadium as John Kufuor addressed some 500 graduating students and exhorted them to join the global fight for good.

“The world you are about to enter is vastly different than the world your parents entered into when they came into adulthood,” Kufuor said. “Mankind has at last come to realize the vision of a global village.”

There are few people in the world who could better have given that message to the students and the crowd of their proud families.

Kufuor served two terms as president of the Republic of Ghana, from 2001 to 2009. His inauguration was the first time Ghana had peacefully transferred power between democratically elected governments since the country won its independence in 1957.

Since leaving office, Kufuor has served with the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union, and he was a special United Nations Envoy on Climate Change. Today he is a leader in a long list of international organizations, and he serves as a Global Ambassador against Hunger for the UN.

His visit to DSU marked the first time a former head of state had addressed the university, officials there said. In addition to giving the commencement address, he also received an honorary doctorate from DSU, and he hosted a town hall session later that evening.

Kufuor told the DSU students that they need to think of themselves as the leaders who will pick up the immense challenges his generation has been fighting all over the world.

Mankind has made giant strides, he said, connecting communities all over the world, making peace in many places and developing powerful new technologies in agriculture and medicine. But too many people, he said, are struggling with poverty and hunger, diseases like AIDS and Ebola still cause widespread suffering and global warming threatens to make devastating natural disasters more common.

“The responsibility falls on the youth of today to continue the fight, to pick up the mantle of global leadership,” he said.

Kufuor’s speech drew a loud applause from the crowd of students and family members, but an even mightier roar came when president Harry L. Williams proclaimed the students the Class of 2015.

Despite the wet weather, families still hollered proudly when their brother or daughter or mother walked across the stage.

“It will take more than a little rain to dampen the spirits of the Class of 2015,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper.

Though most of the students graduating were typical college age, graduates ranged from 19 to 72 years old.

Doreen Griffin earned her master’s degree on the same day her daughter, Jazmin Salaberrios, was awarded her bachelor’s.

“I had no idea this was going to be how things would turn out,” Griffin said. “I’m so proud of my daughter. It’s just a wonderful day.”
Four students graduated DSU with perfect 4.0 grade point averages: Chelsea Kimbler, Rebecca Pugh, Kacie Minner and Leah Williams.

“It’s a huge relief that I was able to do it,” said Pugh. “No matter what I do, I want to do it well. So I’m just really excited.”

Contact Matthew Albright at, 324-2428 or on Twitter @TNJ_malbright.

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